Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chardonnay In A Little Box

Boxed wine holds no special attraction for me, as most of my consumption is at home, where I love the heft and feel of a wine bottle.  I don’t carry wine around with me very often.  In Southern California, I don’t believe alcoholic beverages are even allowed on the beaches - or anywhere in public - but I have seen folks tipping plastic cups of wine at outdoor concerts and at the Hollywood Bowl.  In each case wine was for sale on site, and there may be restrictions on bringing your own wine into the venue.

Vendange Chardonnay is an Australian non-vintage wine in a 500ml Tetra Pak box, completely unbreakable and portable.  It's "bottled" in California and can be taken anywhere very easily..  They say the contents will yield three glasses, but it's more like two if you like a generous pour.  The retail price of four bucks certainly makes for an attractive offer.

The packaging  touts convenience, freshness and earth-friendliness while promising a taste that’s "full-flavored & fruity with hints of apples, pears & toasted oak."  The ecological angle is bolstered by the notice that the Tetra Pak is 90% less wasteful than regular wine bottles and 97% recyclable.

Personally, I rather like opening a bottle of wine.  The act of wielding a corkscrew and using it properly satisfies me.  You get  no such opportunity with the Vendange.  The twist-top closure automatically slits the inner foil container when opened, so no special tools are needed.   Alcohol content hits a moderate 13% abv.

Once out of the box, the nose shows the advertised fruit and the oak has a surprisingly light touch.  On the palate, fruity and fresh is a good description, with medium acidity and a slight oak flavor that becomes a little more strident on the finish.

Vendange is not the great Chardonnay of the ages, but you weren't expecting that when you got change back from a five.  It will suffice anywhere drinking is permitted, but glass bottles are not.  The question is, how badly do you really need to drink?

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